“Equals the charisma of Elvis”, “an exhausting movie”: what critics say about the King’s new film

It was a frantic race that was defined by a head. At the end of last weekend, Elvis defeated by a slight advantage Top Gun: Maverick at the box office in North America ($31.1 million vs. $29.9 million). An important victory against the most successful film of the year in the United States and a key push for Baz Luhrmann’s film about the King, as it reaches more countries in the following weeks. It will arrive in Chile on Thursday, July 14.

But the reception to production has nuances. He convinced Priscilla Presley and those who manage her estate, but has generated more discussion among specialists. The performance of its main actor, Austin Butler, arouses praise, but the point of view, the interpretation of Tom Hanks and the diffuse perspective around who the artist really was raise more questions.

Here is a review of some of the most discussed points:

The result is a dizzying, almost mind-blowing experience.similar to being thrown into a washing machine and churned mercilessly for two and a half hours,” The Washington Post noted, summarizing the experience of watching the 159 minutes of Elvis on the big screen. “With Elvis, Luhrmann matches Presley’s instinctive drive and charisma and elevates him by sheer nerve, while at the same time sticking to the oldest conventions of Hollywood’s rise-and-fall biopics and gleefully seeking to subvert them at every turn” , he added.

Photo: Warner Bros.

To those familiar with the cinema of the Australian Baz Lurhmann (Moulin Rouge!, The Great Gatsby) should not be surprised by the excesses of the proposal. But in Elvis these are manifested with disparity.

“It’s not so much a movie as it is a 159-minute trailer for a movie called Elvis: a relentless montage, frenetically flashy, epic and yet insignificant at the same time, without variation of rhythm. At the end of it all, you may find yourself pondering the eternal questions: what does Luhrmann think of Elvis’ music? Does he, for example, prefer some Elvis songs to others?

“His interpretation of a quintessential American story of race, sex, religion and money teeters between simplistic revisionism and zombie mythology, unsure if it wants to be a lavish pop fable or a tragic melodrama,” argued The New York Times, adding that “as a biography of Presley, Elvis it is not particularly illuminating. All the basics are there, just like it would be on Wikipedia.”

It’s an exhausting movie. That probably means he’s doing something right.”, expressed Rolling Stone. “Elvis, in the epic tradition of all Luhrmann’s work, is a reckless and overwhelming experience. It’s a carnival in movie form.” The New Yorker agrees: “Luhrmann, as was evident in Moulin Rouge! (2001), makes a proud virtue of lack of subtlety. Little is left unsaid or half hidden.

In the film who tells the story is Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), the man of Dutch origin who took the reins of the musician’s career and did not let go until his body could not take it anymore. An amoral character who dominates the story.

“Luhrmann is clearly unwilling or unable to explore the dysfunctional Jekyll and Hyde relationship between the Colonel and Elvis,” The Guardian argued, adding that “Luhrmann is even less interested in Parker’s inner self than Elvis’s.”. And he suggested a different idea than the one that hit theaters: “How about a movie about the Colonel, with Elvis in a supporting role? It would have been genuinely new and Hanks would have played it magnificently.”

“Elvis’s most interesting concept, which Luhrmann co-wrote with Sam Bromell, Craig Pearce and Jeremy Doner, also happens to be its greatest weakness: Presley’s life story is narrated by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, played by Tom Hanks. behind layers of prosthetics and a thick Dutch accent,” said The Washington Post.

Variety also pointed to that edge: “Why aren’t there more poignant scenes between Elvis and the Colonel? Or between Elvis and Priscilla? The Colonel should have been a great character, not a succulent trickster caricature. If these relationships had been enriched, the story might have taken off more.”

Chosen over other more famous names (Harry Styles, Miles Teller), the 30-year-old actor embodies the King from the moment he is discovered by his manager until his last days. A deployment that is generally convincing, although it is subject to the particularities defined by history.

Butler is fine in the few moments of offstage drama that the script allows. “Butler captures the fiery physicality of Elvis the entertainer, as well as the playfulness and vulnerability that drove crowds wild. The voice cannot be imitated, and the film wisely does not try, remixing actual Elvis recordings instead of trying to replicate them,” he added.

“He does an admirable job of capturing the intoxication and terror of his rising stardom. But he’s being tested by a filmmaker who turns out to be as controlling as Parker himself.”, specified The Washington Post, pointing out that during Presley’s stay his performance grows- “Through suspicious minds Y Polk Salad AnnieButler turns what could have been yet another interpretation of the most imitated musician of all time into something authentic and unexpectedly powerful.”

Rolling Stone went further and wondered how the actor triumphed over the challenge that the film implied. “Luhrmann’s film doesn’t need an Elvis impersonator. Need an actor who can survive the movie, that can not only stand out from Luhrmann’s strong sensationalism, but also convince us that underneath all the shiny surfaces and visual blasts, there is a person. Butler’s Elvis is convincing: you believe, quite unbelievably, that this is a man people can’t take their eyes off of, but he too has believable flaws and is fearless.”

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